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A TRADESMAN in the East, who had not many customers, had a servant who was remarkable for speaking the truth. One day a gentleman came to the shop, and, finding everything in excellent order, said, "How well you arrange your things!"
"That is because we have not much business, sir, seldom any customers," said the servant.
The gentleman, who was struck by this remark, then asked for the quality of each of the various articles in the shop, and had a correct description from the honest servant. He bought a few things he wanted, and left the place.
The tradesman sent for the servant, and said, "You don't know how to get on in the world. You go and tell the gentleman we seldom have any customers. I cannot hope to prosper with you. Leave me at once!"
The servant left the shop, and was engaged that very day by the owner of the opposite shop, who was in need of a servant. The next day the gentleman again called at the first shop, and said to the tradesman, "My friend, I have got a very large order to give, and tomorrow a great many of my friends intend buying here. Where is your honest servant? Unless he points out the articles I shan't be satisfied."
The tradesman was very sorry he had sent away the servant; but the gentleman soon found out he was in the opposite shop, and went there to make his purchases.
"Alas!" said the disconsolate tradesman, "what a lesson! If ever by truthfulness we seem to lose, we should perhaps emigrate."
A FOX was once caught in a trap. A hungry tiger saw him and said, "So you are here!"
"Only on your account," said the fox, in a whisper.
"How so?" said the tiger.
"Why, you were complaining you could not get men to eat, so I got into this net today, that you may have the men when they come to take me," said the fox, and gave a hint that if he would wait a while in a thicket close by he would point out the men to him.
"May I depend on your word?" said the tiger.
"Certainly," said the fox.
The hunters came, and, seeing the fox in the net, said, "So you are here!"
"Only on your account," said the fox, in a whisper.
"How so?" said the men.
"Why, you were complaining you could not get at the tiger that has been devouring your cattle; I got into this net today that you may have him. As I expected, he came to eat me up, and is in over there thicket," said the fox, and gave a hint that if they would take him out of the trap he would point out the tiger.
"May we depend on your word?" said the men.
"Certainly," said the fox, while the men went with him in a circle to see that he did not escape.
Then the fox said to the tiger and the men, "Sir Tiger, here are the men; gentlemen, here is the tiger."
The men at once turned to the tiger, while the fox made a hasty retreat to the wood, saying, "I have kept my promise to both; now you may settle it between yourselves."
The tiger exclaimed when it was too late, "Alas! What alarming skills the foxes take to!"
ONE day a king in the far East was seated in the hall of justice. A thief was brought before him; he inquired into his case, and said he should receive one hundred lashes with a cat-o'-ninetails.
Instantly he recollected an old Eastern saying, 'What we do to others in this birth they will do to us in the next,' and said to his minister, "I have a great mind to let this thief go quietly, for he is sure to give me these one hundred lashes in the next birth."
"Sire," replied the minister, "I know the saying you refer to is perfectly true, but you must understand you are simply returning to the thief in this birth what he gave you in the last."
The king was perfectly pleased with this reply, says the story, and gave his minister a rich present.
A FARMER one morning noticed the footprints of some quadruped in his field, and said to a fox, "Reynard, my field was entered last night by some beast with four legs. Can you tell me which?"
"I am sorry I can't," said the fox, "but I know who can."
"Who is it?" said the farmer.
"There is a fish in the sea," said the fox, "that has two fins; if you should ask him, he may tell you."
"What a silly reply!" said the farmer.
"Not more silly than the query," said the fox, as he retreated to the wood.
Consider twice before you put a question to a sly one.
THE kites and the crows made an agreement among themselves that they should go halves in everything obtained in the forest. One day they saw a fox that had been wounded by the hunters lying in a helpless condition under a tree, and gathered round it.
The crows said, "We will take the upper half of the fox."
"Then we will take the lower half," said the kites.
The fox laughed at it, and said, "I always thought the kites were superior in creation to the crows; as such they must get the upper half of my body, of which my head, with the brain and other delicate things in it, forms a portion."
"Oh, yes, that is right," said the kites; "we will have that part of the fox."
"Not at all," said the crows; "we must have it, as already agreed." Then a war arose between the rival parties, and a great many fell on both sides, and the remaining few escaped with difficulty.
The fox continued there for some days, leisurely feeding on the dead kites and crows, and then left the place hale and hearty, observing, "The weak tend to benefit by the quarrels of the mighty."
A FARMER was returning from a fair which he had attended the previous day at a neighbouring market town. He had a quantity of poultry which he had bought. A fox observed this, and approaching the farmer said, "Good morning, my friend."
"What cheer, old fellow?" said the farmer.
"I am just coming from the wood, through which you mean to go with your poultry. A band of highwaymen has been tarrying there since daybreak."
"Then what shall I do?" said the farmer.
"Why," said the fox, "if I were you I should stay here a while, and after breakfast enter the wood, for by that time the robbers will have left the place."
"So be it," said the farmer, and had a hearty breakfast with Reynard for his guest.
They kept drinking for a long time. Reynard appeared to have lost his wits; he stood up and played the drunkard to perfection. The farmer, who highly admired the pranks of his guest, roared with laughter, and gradually fell into a deep slumber. It was some time after noon he awoke. But to his dismay he found that the fox was gone, and that the poultry had all disappeared!
"Alas!" said the farmer, as he trudged on his way home with a heavy heart, "I thought the old rogue was quite drowned in liquor like myself, but it was all feigned."
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